I sat straight up, suddenly terrified. “How in the hell did I end up back here? I was in my own home!” I said to myself. I had to come to a realization that this house was toying with my mind, making me see things I didn’t want to see. There had to be some way out of here.
I couldn’t think about it anymore. I became distracted by the sobbing and crying that had a woken me in the first place. I headed toward the source of the crying and there I found my younger self yet again. This time, he wasn’t crying because he was lonely. He was crying because he thought he could help me but he had failed to do so.
He continued to cry, but managed to speak, “I am so sorry Chuck. I thought I could help you, but I can’t. Please forgive me.”
I sighed and gently placed my hand upon his head patting it. “It’s quite alright. It’s not your fault that I’m here, it’s mine. If I hadn’t come to this damn place to begin with, I wouldn’t be going through this torture.” I put on my best fake smile, and gestured to my younger self to follow me. I had a feeling that he might be part of this nightmare, but he was my younger self. If I couldn’t trust myself, who could I trust at this point?
We made it to the hallway and started our journey all over again. The lights blinked on and off again, and I started to see more images of the man that I saw once before off in the distance. This time, he was carrying a hatchet and appeared to be dragging a black trash bag behind him. A crimson substance was leaking from it, I could only assume it was blood. What else could it have been, but again I shook my head and chalked it up as an illusion. This time, it wasn’t going away. The man was walking toward me, getting closer and closer. He was dragging the body bag and swaying the ax back and forth. Not wanting to see what would happen when he reached me, I jumped into another room without hesitation or thought.
As soon as I stepped into the room, I realized I left my younger self out there with the ax-wielding maniac.
I turned back too late. “Oh s**t! I forgot my younger self was with me! How could I have been so f*****g careless? He’s only a kid! I hope he is alright by himself.” Until the next door appeared, I’d have to figure out what this room was.
The lights suddenly clicked on and right there in the middle of the room was a chair. I stepped closer to it and realized there was a note written on it that simply read, “Sit.” I was hesitant, but what other choice did I have? Until this psychotic trial was over, the door wouldn’t open again.
I sat down and immediately, restraints appeared, wrapping tightly around my arms. Another wrapped around my neck ensuring that I couldn’t move.
When I thought it couldn’t get any worse, the lights shut off and a screen popped up on the wall in front of me. For a minute, there was nothing but static and then an image started to appear. As the static faded away, the image became clearer. I wasn’t sure what I was seeing at first. It seemed to be a video of a pregnant woman rubbing her belly. As the image got stronger, I realized exactly who it was. The woman… was my late fiancée Shelly.
I burst into tears as I watched the screen. The death of my once-beloved fiancée and our soon-to-be child was something that I thought I had forgotten. I realized memories don’t fade away with time, they just get buried deep within us. All it takes is a little sliver of an image to bring back all those emotions overflowing like a boiling pot of water.
My fiancée Shelly and her poor unborn child were killed tragically in a robbery gone wrong. Shelly was working at a gas station and I was coming to surprise her at work to take her to dinner. When I got there, I saw the flashing blue and red lights.
As soon as I stepped out of that car, my whole world came crumbling down. An officer on the scene walked towards me with a look of remorse on his face.
The officer reached me and asked, “Are you Chuck?”
I swallowed the lump in my throat, “Yes officer. What happened? Is my fiancée Shelly okay?”
He took off his hat and shook his head. “Sir, I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but your fiancée was killed in a robbery.” My whole body went limp and I collapsed to the ground. Tears fell onto the pavement below me.
That was ten years ago. Now I’m sitting here being reminded by this f*****g house of what could have been if I had arrived there a little earlier that night. I could have saved my beloved Shelly and our unborn child.
As I sat there strapped to the chair sobbing, I begged for that image to go away. Shelly stopped rubbing her stomach and looked up at me. Her stare so menacing that it pierced through my very soul. She smiled maniacally at me. Blood started to drip from her mouth and nose, covering her. She opened her mouth and croaked out one sentence, “It’s all your fault.”
All of a sudden, she reached behind her back and pulled out a rusty looking blade. Shelly sliced open her stomach. She screamed in agony as the blade ripped through her skin and from the open wound, she pulled out a developed baby. Still screaming, she held out our child for me to see as though she was proud of what she’d done. The baby screamed and cried an ear-piercing shriek.
Raising the rusty blade, Shelly stabbed the baby over and over again until it finally stopped screaming. I struggled to get free from my restraints. I had to hold back the urge to vomit. In the back of my mind, I knew that this was not my Shelly. She wouldn’t do such a thing, especially to our unborn child. It wasn’t her, it was this f*****g house trying to get to me. Trying to break me down.
I finally broke free from my restraints, and lifted the chair over my head. I smashed the screen as I screamed out to whatever was doing this to me. “That’s enough! You hear me!” I yelled.
All of a sudden, the lights clicked on again and the door opened. I stepped out of that room and back into the hallway coming face to face with the axe wielding man. He’d been waiting for me. I could finally see him close up now. He had a mask over his face, tattered and torn. It appeared to be made out of skin. Blood stained and smelling of copper, he approached me. I thought I was dead until I felt a tug on my shoulder. It was my younger self.
“Come with me. Come quick,” he said calmly. Without hesitation, I followed him into another room. The door disappeared and I began to look around. I shouldn’t due to the torture I’d endured in the other rooms, but this one had me very curious. This particular room had nothing in it or at least nothing bad. It was just a white room similar to some of the others, but unlike the others, it was calm and quiet. Almost safe even. I reminded myself that it may have appeared safe, but even the safest places could be dangerous.
I was right. The false security of the room almost became our tomb. The walls started to close in, moving closer and closer. My younger self started to panic and scream, “Chuck, what are we going to do? We’re going to die!”
I took a deep breath. “Just calm down a little buddy. I’m thinking of something. We’re not going to die. If I can make it out of a room that f***s with your mind, I’m able to make it out of this as well. You and me.”
I had to think fast or we would surely die. That’s when I noticed something that wasn’t there before. A metal pole lay on the ground, almost as though it had been placed there on purpose. If I braced the pole between the two walls, it could keep them from closing in. We’d have a slight chance of surviving. I grabbed the pole and waited until the walls got close enough to jam it between them. As soon as my plan was in place, the walls stopped advancing on us. What do you know, a door appeared yet again giving us enough time to get out of the room before the pole collapsed under the weight of the walls. We jumped out just as the walls crushed the pole. All that mattered was we were back in the hallway.
We got off the ground, dusted ourselves off, and looked around and see if the masked man with the ax was still around. Luckily he wasn’t. I grabbed the hand of my younger self and told him that he was coming with me, he was not going to be out of my sight again.
We walked down the hall yet again. It seemed to go on for hours. The lights began to flicker again. If the masked man appeared again, I wanted to be ready. I wouldn’t be taken off guard this time. We didn’t see him however. What we did see, was a baby stroller.
Covered in blood, this wasn’t just any baby stroller. It looked like the same one I bought for the baby when I found out my fiancée was expecting. I was so happy that day, proud even, knowing that my beloved Shelly was carrying my child. It’s strange how a simple object can bring back memories as well as pain. I was snapped back into reality by my younger self.
He looked up at me curiously, “Chuck, are you okay? You spaced out for a minute.”
I tried to smile for his benefit, but failed miserable, “Yes, I’m fine just remembering the past is all.”
I pushed the stroller out of the way and went on. I continued on with my younger self, desperately trying to find a way out. When I thought all hope was lost, we finally found the end of the hallway and wouldn’t you know it, we found ourselves back in the kitchen. This time, the kitchen was even more destroyed. There wasn’t only blood all over the walls and floor, no, there were scattered body parts as well.
Someone had been torn limb from limb, piece by piece. I tried to do everything in my power to cover up my younger selves eyes. A boy his age shouldn’t be subjected to such horror. I kept my hand over my younger selves eyes as I inspected the chopped up corpse. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It couldn’t be true. The body was that of my best friend Richie.
“Jesus Christ Richie, this can’t be you. You were waiting outside for me. Don’t tell me you came in here looking for me,” I said to myself. All of a sudden, the severed head came to life and stared at me. It began to speak in a demonic version of my friend’s voice.
“Why did you do it Chuck? Why did you destroy your entire life and your loved ones with it?”
“What do you mean? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about buddy. You know what you did and you know what you have to do.”
I’d heard enough. I closed my eyes and kicked Richie’s head as it laughed demonically. It rolled across the floor and I grabbed my younger self, heading towards the door. I made it to the door, it was locked. No matter how hard I tried or how hard I pulled, the door wouldn’t budge.
All of a sudden, an overwhelming feeling came rushing to my head, causing me to collapse onto the floor. Illusions of my dead fiancée, Richie’s severed head, the masked man, and my younger self flashed before my eyes.
They surrounded me, chanting the words, “It’s your fault. It’s your fault.” I begged them to stop, please God, I wanted them to stop. My younger self kneeled down and whispered into my ear, “You’re never getting out of here Chuck.”
I screamed, “Noooooo!”
(Dark Hills Institution for the Unstable)
A doctor walks into a patient’s room and introduces himself.
“Hello, I am Dr. Bradford. I’ve been assigned to your case. I was going over your file, it says you were brought here ten years ago when you murdered your pregnant fiancée because you thought she was cheating on you with your best friend Richie. You decided to hack him up into pieces so the record says. It also says when you were found, you were wearing a mask made out of skin, is that right?”
The doctor tries to talk to Chuck, but all he did was repeat one thing over and over, “It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t my fault.”
Chuck wanted to escape from his nightmare, but now he’s forever chained in a prison of his own guilt with no chance of escaping.